How to Cook Arborio Rice


Rice is naturally gluten-free and is a staple food for many cultures around the world. There are many different types of rice. The most common varieties include long-grain white rice, brown, basmati, jasmine, sushi rice, sticky rice, and Arborio.

Arborio rice is an Italian variety of rice. It is one of the most commonly used types for making risotto, a creamy Italian rice dish. Arborio grains are plump in shape, and due to this, it is often mistaken as short-grain rice but it is actually medium-grain rice. The high starch content of Arborio rice helps give risotto its signature texture and creaminess. 

Making risotto isn’t the only way to cook Arborio rice though! In this article, we’ll teach you how to cook Arborio rice using different methods.

Can I Cook Arborio Rice Like Regular Rice?

Yes, you can. Arborio rice is typically used in dishes such as risotto or rice pudding and it isn’t often cooked on its own as a side dish, but you can cook Arborio rice in the way you would cook regular grains.

However, there’s a little more process involved when cooking Arborio rice. When you cook white rice, you would usually just set it and forget. On the other hand, cooking Arborio rice requires a bit of precision, otherwise, it won’t have that tender and creamy texture. 

Should You Rinse Arborio Rice Before Cooking?

Arborio rice is high in amylopectin starch, giving the grains their creamy characteristic when cooked. Most types of rice are rinsed before being cooked to reduce their starch content. However, in the case of Arborio rice, rinsing it would remove the starchy coating that makes it creamy when cooked. Arborio rice should only be rinsed if the recipe card calls for fluffy, looser grains.

Does Arborio Need to Be Rinsed?

Arborio rice does not need to be rinsed, especially if you are using it to make risotto or rice pudding. This delicious creamy rice will lose its signature texture if you rinse it before cooking it for risotto and other similar recipes. However, if you are cooking it plain using a rice cooker, you may rinse it a little so that it will not be clumpy as it cooks.

What is the Ratio of Arborio Rice to Water?

To cook the perfect batch of Arborio rice, you should use a ratio of 1:2, where 1 cup of Arborio rice is equal to 2 cups of water. The ratio of 1:1.5 works as well; this means for every 1 cup of uncooked Arborio rice, you should use 1.5 cups of 1 1/2 cups of liquid.

If you will be making risotto, the ratio will be different. You will need about 5 cups of broth or water to 1 cup of rice. You will need the grains to absorb all the liquid first before adding more.

Cooking Arborio Rice Using Four Methods

Risotto may be the most common dish that requires the use of Arborio grains, but you can also make Arborio rice as a side dish on its own.

You can learn how to cook Arborio rice in different ways: using a rice cooker, using a slow cooker, on the stovetop, and with the use of an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker.

How to Cook Arborio Rice Using a Rice Cooker

Cooking Arborio rice in a rice cooker is one of the easiest ways to make it with consistently good results. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Put 2 cups of dry Arborio rice into a strainer or rice washer and rinse with cold water.
  2. Pour the 2 cups of grains into your cooker pot.
  3. Add 4 cups of liquid. You can use water or broth if you prefer.
  4. Close the lid of your cooker. Depending on the type of cooker that you have, you may need to select the “Cook” button or just turn the appliance on.
  5. It can take 20 to 30 minutes for the grains to finish cooking. Most rice cookers will turn themselves off once the cooking process is done.
  6. Let the cooked rice sit for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork afterward.
  7. Serve.

How to Cook Arborio Rice Using a Slow Cooker

Another easy way to make Arborio rice is to use a slow cooker. Here are the steps:

  1. Pour the Arborio grains and your liquid of choice into the slow cooker pot.
  2. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Cook on High for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in 2/3 cup of parmesan cheese if desired.
  6. Cook uncovered until the parmesan cheese melts or about 15 minutes.

How to Cook Arborio Rice on the Stove

Cooking on the stove involves a bit more effort as you will have to stir constantly. Aside from teaching you how to cook using the stove, we’ll also be teaching you the steps to make a simple risotto.

  1. In a saucepan, add water or broth. Set it over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil.
  2. Add a tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Add the grains to the boiling water.
  4. The water will settle for a bit. Stir the grains constantly until it reaches a boil again.
  5. Reduce to medium-low heat.
  6. Leave it undisturbed for 20 minutes or until the rice absorbs all the water.
  7. Serve.

How to Cook Risotto

  1. In a medium saucepan, add chicken broth or chicken stock. You may also use water if you wish. Set it over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then set aside.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or butter.
  3. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, kosher salt, and pepper, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add rice and mix thoroughly to combine with the onions and butter. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. 
  5. Add 1/2 cup of white wine and simmer, stirring constantly until the pan is nearly dry.
  6. Slowly add the hot chicken broth. Stir almost constantly between additions. Wait until the liquid is fully absorbed before adding the next ladleful of broth.
  7. Continue adding chicken broth until the grains are al dente and the broth is creamy.
  8. Stir in 1 or 2 more tablespoons of butter if desired.
  9. Add 1 to 2 cups of finely-grated parmesan cheese.
  10. Serve.

How to Cook Arborio Rice Using an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker

One of the best ways to efficiently cook Arborio grains is to use an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Warm 4 cups of chicken broth or your preferred liquid in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Set your Instant Pot or pressure cooker to the “Sauté” function.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  4. Add a large, finely chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the arborio grains to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker and stir to coat with the butter.
  6. Stir until the edges of the grains are translucent but the center is still opaque.
  7. Turn off the “Sauté” function, and stir in 1/2 cup of white wine. Scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to remove any stuck grains. 
  8. Stir until most of the white wine evaporates.
  9. Add the broth and cover the Instant Pot. 
  10. Set to cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes. 
  11. After 5 minutes on High Pressure, let the steam naturally release for 5 minutes.
  12. Immediately quick-release the rest and remove the lid.
  13. Remove the insert from your Instant Pot to prevent overcooking.
  14. Stir finely grated parmesan cheese.
  15. Season with salt and pepper.
  16. Serve.

Final Note

Now that you know how to cook Arborio rice, you can use it to make a variety of dishes in your own kitchen. You can even make it on its own and pair it up with other recipes. All it takes is a little practice and you’ll be the master of it!